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Green Weenie of the Week

There’s fierce competition for this week’s coveted Power Line Green Weenie Award.  Nature magazine is a strong contender, offering up a whole special section on the imminent UN Earth Summit in Rio (a sure lock for a future Green Weenie), capping it off with another study on the approaching “tipping point” for the planet.  This must be report number—what?—probably in the six figures??—by now, and I’m sure it will work this time.  Seems to me they undershot, though: shouldn’t we by now be saying that the planet is reaching a perfect storm of tipping points?  Why let good pop metaphors go unused?  Better still: a global-warming-fueled perfect storm of tipping points.  We know those will be the most perfectest storms of all, tipping over more than just trailer parks.

But then there’s the Union of Concerned Scientists, who deserve a shelf full of Green Weenies—heck, they deserve their own special Lifetime Achievement Green Weenie, which lately released a typically shoddy report on corporate funding of both sides of the climate debate.  Which is supposed to mean . . . what exactly?  Corporations also tend to give campaign contributions to candidates in both parties, sometimes in the same race.

What was especially shoddy about this report is a methodology that hits corporations for supposedly funding climate denial through their routine programs of providing matching funds for employees donations to qualified non profit organizations.  Reason magazine’s Ron Bailey on how the Union of Politicized Left-Wing Scientists cooked the books:

So what vast sums of money did the duplicitous executives at General Electric lavish on the Reason Foundation in 2008 and 2009 to support an implied campaign to traduce climate science? Exactly $325. How much did GE spend on matching and direct grants on the six think tanks identified by the UCS as being pro-climate consensus? That would be $497,744. At least with regard to General Electric’s contributions, it appears that the Union of Concerned Scientists has salted a follow-the-money trail with pieces of fool’s gold, which certain unwary news outlets obligingly picked up and reported as real bullion.

Let’s take a deeper look at just how much “support” General Electric has funneled into the Reason Foundation’s coffers. The UCS report notes it identified this “support” by mining General Electric’s two most recent IRS 990 forms, which report charitable giving by the GE Foundation. I asked Reason’s development people how much GE has contributed to the Reason Foundation during those two years. The grand total in our files and confirmed by the 990 forms investigated by the UCS researchers: $100 in 2009, and $225 in 2008.

Puzzled, I called up Dr. Francesca Grifo, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists and director of its Scientific Integrity Program. She put me on speakerphone with her and the author of the report, Gretchen Goldman. I asked them if these minuscule donations were why GE was listed as a corporate supporter of the Reason Foundation. They answered yes. Seriously? Yes. They added that GE’s 990 forms did not disclose what the funds would be used for, darkly implying that the money might be directed to what the UCS might regard as climate disinformation campaigns.

There’s more at the link, if you want to enjoy the full embarrassment at the weak tea of the UCS.

It also seemed like there might be a case for giving a Green Weenie to Jenny McCarthy, for her egregiously ignorant anti-vaccine campaign.  But I see someone has beat me to it in a manner of speaking, putting together a Jenny McCarthy Body Count website.

However, we’ve decided that this week’s coveted Power Line Green Weenie Award goes to—the government of China!  It seems that China, embarrassed about its appalling air pollution, has asked foreign embassies to stop monitoring air pollution levels on their own.  That whole transparency thing is just not happening in China, and how ridiculous it is for foreigners to want to be able to know when to warn their own people when air pollution levels are dangerously high.

Some years ago I thought it possible that China’s air pollution might be peaking and perhaps even starting to decline.  There was some data out of China showing this taking place in some cities.  But later I came to doubt that the data was genuine.  So the Red Chinese get the Green Weenie.

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